It’s not surprising to know that newsrooms have suffered from the same slow job recovery as other fields of work. But the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) has got news that recent improvements in the industry’s job market haven’t extended to journalists of color.
ASNE recently released the 2011 results of its annual Newsroom Census, and found that after three years of job losses, the overall number of newsroom employees in America increased slightly over last year. But the numbers for journalists of color are still on the decline. From 2007 to 2010, the numbers of journalists of color decreased from just over 13 percent to roughly 12 percent — from 5,000 to 5,300.
The numbers also show that it’s become harder for journalists to stay in the newsroom. From 2002 through 2010, newsroom retention rates between whites and journalists of color were about the same. But that changed over the past year, which saw retention rates for journalists of color fall significantly short of those for their white counterparts.
ASNE summed up the importance of this on its website:
To cover communities fully, to carry out their role in a democracy, and to succeed in the marketplace, the nation’s newsrooms must reflect the racial diversity of American society by 2025 or sooner. At a minimum, all newspapers should employ journalists of color and every newspaper should reflect the diversity of its community.
America’s population is steadily growing browner — a point that’s been found to fuel white anxiety and repressive legislation. It’s more important now than ever before that newsrooms reflect the communities that they’re covering. Because, put simply, when they don’t, bad things happen.